SpaceX Falcon 9: Close Encounters of the down-under kind

Aussie resdents from Victoria to Queensland got a big suprise early Saturday morning if they happened to be out just before dawn and were looking skyward. What first might have appeared to be a UFO was later more accurately defined as the orbital portions of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle, launched about an hour earlier from Florida on its maiden mission.


Other than saying the mission was successful in that the rocket delivered its mock payload into a 250km circular orbit, SpaceX hasn’t provided details as to the condition of the rocket or payload once it got to that orbit, or whether the spin rate, shown in the YouTube video below after roughly 7 minutes of flight, was planned, and if it was not planned, what happened?


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